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Northern Marianas – Judge orders US Marshalls to seize Imperial Pacific’s assets

By - 20 July 2021

The US Marshals Service has been told to take assets owned by Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International (CNMI), including ‘computer hardware, furniture and equipment, motor vehicles, casino gaming machines and the two crystal dragons’ in order to pay a US$5.4m judgement to seven former building workers.

The Saipan Tribune reported that Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona of the District Court for the NMI issued the writ of execution allowing US Marshals to take IPI property ‘including but not limited to: (1) all computer hardware, furniture and equipment, motor vehicles, and casino gaming machines identified in the ‘List of Assets’ filed by IPI’s attorney on March 3, 2021, and (2) the two crystal dragons hanging in the IPI casino that are identified in IPI’s March 8, 2021 filing in a different civil lawsuit that involved IPI.’

Imperial Pacific is believed to have paid $10.278m for the dragons, that hang in the lobby of the property. They were installed by LASVIT, a Czech glassmaking company. It described them as a ‘crystal gem-studded sculpture featuring two flying dragons.’ Spanning over 60 meters (200 feet) and weighing 40 metric tons (44 US tons), the project is described as ‘the largest piece of jewelry ever made.’ “13,000 stainless steel scales fitted with crystals were made to cover the dragon’s body, with more than 2.5m Swarovski crystals used to decorate the scales. Each crystal is illuminated and can change colour, meaning that the dragon can turn from green to red almost instantly.”

The operator is also now being sued by TakeCare Insurance Company for over $200,000. TakeCare said it provided prepaid medical and dental insurance services for IPI’s employees on Saipan for June, July, and August 2020, yet IPI failed to pay for these services.

“The principal amount due is $215,491.82. However, despite repeated demands, Imperial Pacific failed to pay TakeCare for these services,” the lawsuit said. “Imperial Pacific’s failure to pay for the healthcare insurance services provided by TakeCare constitutes a breach of the written contract between the parties.”

Imperial Palace had its casino license suspended for six months with the warning it could be revoked if the operator didn’t pay its debts. It was found guilty of violating five orders of the Casino Control Act, ordered to pay $6.6m in total penalty within six months, and pay immediately $15.5m and $3.1m in annual casino exclusive license fee and annual casino regulatory fee, but failed to do so.

CCC chair Edward DeLeon Guerrero said: “We are suspending the license indefinitely until IPI complies with those orders.”

The casino and hotel have been closed since March due to COVID-19, with the operator confirming a US$367m loss for FY2020.

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